At some point in every eCommerce store owners time, there will be the occasional customer who is not happy with their purchase.  The reasons for this can range from the customer not taking close enough notice of a description and not being happy with the item when receiving it, the colour, size or shape of an item might not be as expected or there may have been a delivery issue and an item may have been damaged.  In these cases, your customer may want to return or receive a refund of their purchase.

To protect your eCommerce store and retain trust with your customers, a return and refund policy is important.  When customers purchase from your store, they should agree to this policy and the rules that go with it. Therefore, it is important that these conditions are added as a check box in your cart

This policy allows your store to clearly state what you require when returning an item and when items are not returnable. Also, if a customer is unsatisfied with the item they purchased, this is where you can state how they can go about getting a refund if they are able to.

While a return and refund policy may not be a necessity in some jurisdictions, it is highly recommended for the benefits it offers not only for your business but for customers as well.

What should your policies contain?

You will want to make sure your policies cover every product and any reason that the customer may have to return

If your policies are not specific enough, a customer may not know if the reason applies to them. If your policy is too strict, purchasers may get frustrated and annoyed at the red tape.

Keep your policies short and to the point.  Use everyday language so that customers can easily know what they need to do. Have easy instructions for common reasons of returns and refunds, and give an option to call or email if the customer’s reason is outside of the norm.

Here are few examples of what you can include in your policies:

  • How many days customers have to return an item.
  • Where to return the items
  • What type of refund you will give a customer
  • Fees associated with returns (restocking fees)
  • Condition of item needed to return it (still with tags, etc.)
  • Customer Service contact information for further questions
  • Which items are not returnable/refundable

Where Should You Put Your Policies?

There is no hard and fast rule as to where on your eCommerce store you should put your refund and returns policies, but wherever it is, it should be clear and easily found. Don’t make a customer go searching for it. This could lead them to believe you are trying to hide something and the products you are selling aren’t what you say they are. Here are some options you could consider…

  • The Footer of your Site.
    Many websites and ecommerce stores have information pages in the footer sections of each page.
  • On Each Product Page.
    It can be useful to outline returns on your product pages. This allows you to customise policies for individual products. (eg. Swimwear or underwear that may be ineligible for return)
  • On the Checkout Page
    Reminding customers or your policies and requiring them to check that they understand the policy before purchasing is common in many stores.
  • Within your Terms & Conditions.

While it might seem simple to have all your policies on one “Terms & Conditions” page, your customers might find that this seems to hide your returns policy amongst other conditions.

Take some time and look at some large eCommerce stores and decide how you want your policies to look.  There are a number of templates for returns and refund policy wording or contact your lawyer for advice.